Culture and Cuisine

One of the things that I like about traveling is to notice the subtle, and sometimes not so subtle differeences between cultures. The first picture is how some of the kids here eat pizza. It is covered with ketchup! The main reason that I found that to be so strange is because Romanian food is so incredible. The kids are used to delicious home-cooked meals, yet they enjoy this abomination!
The next picture is the gorgeous breakfast that was served my first morning in the house. Fresh eggs from their chickens, ham, olives, fresh tomatoes from the garden and cheese. This was served with espresso and fresh milk from the neighbor’s cow. They put the milk in a large blue pot to heat and then ladel the milk into the espresso. The milk is then put on the shelf in the pantry where it will keep for about three days. I think about when one of our kids would accidently leave milk out on the counter overnight and we would throw it out, assuming it was bad. Their milk is not even pasteurized, and they are ok. Eggs are also kept in the pantry.
One of the most unusual things that I noticed was that some older men wore capri pants. I have never seen a man in capri pants.
While I was there, one of the ladies made apricot preserves. She cooked them in a huge pot, ladeled them into old jars and covered the jars with paper and cloth. The next day they added lids and labels. That process is very different than how I learned to make preserves in the states.
A unique characteristic about Romania,is that you occasionally get a glimpse of life from a bygone era. One mornng I heard a man yelling outside all through the neighborhood. He kept yelling the same thing over and over. I asked the girls if there was a crazy man walking around and they laughed and told me it was the gypsy watermelon man. He loaded up his horse and cart and drove through town selling watermelons. The next day when I heard him, I went out and snapped a picture. I think his family thought I was crazy for taking a picture of such an ordinary thing!
Of course, all of these things that I am describing are small things, because when it comes to the big things, we are the same. We all want to be loved and needed, we want our children to be happy and healthy and many of us seek to live a spiritual life of substance. I saw this when one of the girls celebrated her birthday. Family and friends gathered for a bar-b-que and laughed and visited while sharing a meal. Preparing a special meal and being together was the celebration. People laughed a lot and ate too much. Doesn’t that sound like a family celebration that could happen anywhere in the world? Happy 22nd birthday Oana!

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